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Mt.Madonna County Park

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Location : Mt.Madonna County Park, Watsonville, CA

Parking : $6

Trail type : Loop

Trail Length : 4.6 miles

Elevation Gain : 689ft

Difficulty : Easy/Moderate

Trails traversed : Blackhawk Trail > Rdige Trail > Loop Trail > Upper Miller Trail > Ridge Road > Iron Springs Trail

Pets Allowed ? Yes

Mt.Madonna County Park, situated off of Highway 152 in the Santa Cruz mountains, is a beautiful redwood forest, close enough to drive from anywhere in the Bay Area, and also close enough to the beaches for some sun and relaxation after the hike. The Park contains many trails for all levels with some of the trails at higher elevation (1500ft being the highest) offering views of Santa Clara valley and Monterey peninsula. The trails are very well marked and fully shaded, no matter which one you choose to traverse. It is a great place to camp during the summer months and also to try out your archery skills at the range nestled within the park.

The most popular trail in the park is the Ridge, Blackhawk and Sprigs loop, which is what we first ventured to complete. But somewhere along the way, we missed a turn and ended up curating our own loop, as listed in the "Trails Traversed" above. Start by driving through the main entrance where you pay $6 vehicle fee at the kiosk. Pick up a map at the entrance and drive to the Blackhawk trailhead which is off of Pole Line Road. We found ample parking at the trailhead on a weekday morning. But you can park anywhere along the side of Pole Line Road, as long as you display the parking permit.

Blackhawk and Ridge Trails are the best way to get a feel of the park and the enormity of the redwoods. This is a great hike for a hot summers day or for a cool foggy fall day. The enormity of the Redwoods always astounds me no matter how many times I hike through them. I am forever thankful to be living so close to so much beauty.

After your hike visit Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple close by for some spiritual healing or for a delicious vegetarian lunch. Not far from it is another spiritual place of worship, the Kim Son Buddhist monastery with giant sized Buddhist sculptures and peacocks roaming the grounds.


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